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Creativity Takes Courage

The title of my Blog this week comes from a quote by Henri Matisse a French Painter born in 1869. Matisse trained as a lawyer but decided to become an artist. It is interesting that with all his varied career experiences he chose to link the quality of courage to creativity. I think he was absolutely right. Art requires risk taking skills as well as imagination. There is no right or wrong with creativity for it is an expression of how you are feeling and indeed how you view the world.

Young children are good at art because they haven’t learnt to be afraid of their own creativity. They see nothing wrong in drawing a purple tree in a purple field if they are in a purple mood. They are not held back by convention or swayed by the creative choice of their friend.  Accordingly teaching children to experiment with art and make courageous choices is a wonderful part of our work at St Christopher’s.

All schools teach art but for us art is a central part of our ethos where we place art at the heart of the curriculum. Whether it is 2D, 3D, textiles, clay, metalwork or sketch book work, by the time you are 7 here at school you will have experimented with it.  This is possible because of the extraordinary work of our Art Director Jules Degg who believes in a process driven journey where the children are inspired by the work of artists and creative experts and are then taught how the works of art are produced before being let loose to freely attempt their own creation.  Jules makes me smile when she inserts the word ‘just’ before her ambitious lessons; “They will ‘just’ be using strands of Merino Wool which they will blend together, mix with soapy water and rub with a towel to make their own felt!” The children’s smiles confirm the joy that these unusual experiences bring.  They are certainly given skills and opportunities that they will remember and use for the rest of their lives.

On Thursday we took some wonderful entries to the ISA London South Regional Art Competition. We are only a small school and I was deeply impressed by the standard and quality of the other entries from significantly larger schools.  However we were pleased to enter and enjoyed walking around the final Art Exhibition admiring the exceptional art work that takes place during a school day all over the London South Region.  You can imagine the joy that we felt during the prize winning announcements when we discovered that we had won 4 first prizes and 2 second prizes!  We carried our prize winning entries back to school and awarded the certificates in Assembly to our delighted and courageous creators. Next stop the nationals!

Annie Thackray